SCF to offer study at sea

Students at State College of Florida will be able to ship out for classes at sea beginning this summer, when a new study-abroad program starts.

The community college’s board approved a partnership Wednesday with Sea|mester, a Sarasota firm that offers for-credit courses aboard its schooners, the Argo and the Ocean Star.

The company’s voyages include the Caribbean, Lesser Antilles, Mediterranean, Australia, Indonesia, Asia, Suez Canal, Polynesia and the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans, according to an SCF fact sheet.

Students may study seamanship, oceanography, marine biology, leadership and speech communication.

A semester aboard ship typically costs from $18,000 to $20,000 per student, said Travis Yates, Sea|mester’s director of operations and marine superintendent.

“It gives students the chance to study abroad, gain academic credit and have a unique leadership and personal growth experience while visiting foreign countries, continents and islands,” he said.

Under the business arrangement with the company, Sea|mester will pay tuition and fees for students who earn college credit awarded by SCF, said Kathy Walker, the college’s director of public affairs and marketing.

In other action, the board honored its Manatee-Sarasota Brain Bowl team, which last month ended up in a three-way tie for seventh place in the nation at the 2010 Community College Championship Tournament at Marianna.

The team was among 24 two-year college teams invited to participate in the national competition, sponsored by the National Academic Quiz Tournaments, officials said. It is the second consecutive year SCF was invited to compete in the tournament, they said.

“It’s like ‘Jeopardy,’” said Aaron Summers, 22, of Sarasota, a member of the team who was the 23rd highest scorer out of 105 participants in the national contest. “But,” he joked, “you can answer in the form of an answer.”

Today, the team is slated to attend a statewide contest in Cocoa Beach, competing against other colleges, officials said.

Team members include Summers, Angela Bruno, Sarah Tremper, Paul Cajka, Michael Moore Jr. and Aaron Pennington.

Just for fun, the team tried a few sample brain teasers out on college administrators, staff and board members.

One question: “This novel, published in 1966, acts as a prequel to Charlotte Bronte’s 1847 novel, ‘Jane Eyre.’ Name this Jean Rhys novel.” Board members said they were stumped.

(Answer: “Wide Sargasso Sea”)

Also honored were SCF music students Amy Folkert, piano, and Cameron Vaadi, horn, who were among the winners in the Student Artist Competition at the Florida Community College Activities Association Winter Music Symposium at Jacksonville. Both were featured in an artist concert at the symposium. Each received a $1,000 renewable scholarship to attend any Florida college or university.

Samone Hicks, an SCF dual-enrolled student and senior at Westcoast School for Human Development in Sarasota, was honored as the first place female vocalist winner of the Florida Grady-Rayam Prize in Sacred Music from the Negro Spiritual Scholarship Foundation. Hicks won a $3,000 scholarship assistance grant, and a $300 cash prize for her performance.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at (941) 745-7031.